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Burns Night and a Burns Night Supper


Scottish Haggis

Scottish Haggis

Photo © VisitScotland Scottish Pipe Band

Scottish Pipe Band

Photo © VisitScotland/ScottishViewpoint. Burns Night Supper, Haggis, Tatties and Neeps

Burns Night Supper, Haggis, Tatties and Neeps

Photo © VisitScotland/ScottishViewpoint.

What is Burns Night?:

Robert Burns (Rabbie Burns) (1759 – 1796) is Scotland’s most famous poet. He is celebrated in Scotland and beyond on the anniversary of his birth (January 25th ) which is known as Burns Night. Robert Burns may be Scottish but the celebrations are held throughout the world, anywhere where his work appreciated. The celebrations take place around a highly ceremonial Burn's Night Supper.

How is Burn's Night Celebrated?:

Rabbie Burns is celebrated on Burns Night where Scots gather together for a Burns Night Supper which consists of traditional Scottish fare. One important 'guest' at the supper will always be a Haggis which was immortalized in Robbie Burns' poem Address to a Haggis.

Celebrations including eating, drinking, and many toasts - see below.

What Foods are Served on Burns Night?:

A classic starter on Burns Night will be Cock-a-Leekie Soup and as mentioned above there will always be Haggis served with Tatties (potatoes) and Neeps (turnips) at a Burns Night Supper.

Pudding is a Tipsy Laird - Trifle, and to drink, of course Whisky.

What Happens on Burns Night?:

A traditional ceremony (below) is usually held at formal dinners and large gatherings but anyone can host a Burns Supper as long as you will pay honor to the Bard and celebrate his memory, there's no way you can get it wrong!

What is the Formal Ceremony on Burn's Night?:

At a formal Burns Supper the evening begins with the sound of the bagpipes with guests standing and clapping in time to the music. The host then welcomes everyone and says the Selkirk Grace as follows.

"Some hae meat and cannot eat.
Some cannot eat that want it:
But we hae meat and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.'
Then follows the legendary Parade of the Haggis when guests stand and clapping their hands welcome the Haggis accompanied by the sound of the bagpipes as the Haggis and chef approach the top table.

The traditional Address to the Haggis,
'His knife, see rustic labour dicht
An' cut ye up wi' ready slight'
is said before the knife is plunged into the Haggis and eating begins.

Speeches are made usually in praise of Robbie Burns and there is a traditional "Toast to the Lassies' made by a male guest as thanks to the women in their lives. The reply toast comes when a woman will stand and reply to the previous toast, (hopefully) thanking the speaker in an amusing way. She might also make a reference to Burns' women and life.

Favourite poems and recitations which usually follow are "Tam o' Shanter", "To A Mouse" and "Holy Willie's Prayer". Finally, the night ends with everyone joining hands and singing "Auld Lang Syne".


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